Congress hits back at Modi government’s decision to freeze DA, says government is adding insult to injury instead of giving relief

24 April, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

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Congress leader Randeep Surjewala has said that instead of giving relief amid coronavirus pandemic, the Modi government is adding adding insult to injury by freezing dearness allowance and dearness...

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala on Friday hit out at the Centre after it announced freezing the hike in dearness allowance (DA) for the central government employees and dearness relief (DR) for the central government pensioners till July next year. He said instead of giving relief at the time of economic slowdown and income crisis due to coronavirus crisis, the government is adding insult to injury. “Only a month ago, on 23 March 2020, the Modi government passed the budget of Rs 30,42,000 crore.

Naturally, the accounts of income and expenditure are clearly given in the budget. Then within 30 days of presenting the budget, what is the Modi government trying to prove by cutting dearness allowance of army personnel, government employees and pensioners?” Surjewala said in a press conference via video conferencing.

“On April 23, 2020, after the Finance Ministry issued an order that the dearness allowance, dearness relief and all the old and future installments have been deducted from the backdate i.e. January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. It was also issued an order that no dues from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 will be paid to any employee or pensioner,” he said.

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Speaking further, the Congress leader said: “With this unjustified deduction, about Rs 37,530 crore annually will be deducted from the salary of about 113 lakh soldiers, employees and pensioners. These 113 lakh employees include 49.26 lakh employees and 61.17 lakh, pensioners. Rs 11,000 crore will be deducted from 15 lakh soldiers and about 26 lakh military pensioners.”

Surjewala said that the Modi government is cutting the income of soldiers, government employees, pensioners and middle class rather than cutting their “useless and unnecessary” expenses. He said that the government has not dismissed the Central Vista Project worth Rs 20,000 crore and bullet train project worth Rs 1,10,000 crore despite the coronavirus crisis.

“Besides salary, pension and central government schemes, the Centre did not cut on government expenses by which Rs 2,50,000 crore can be saved annually. The question is, is this not living proof of the misguided priorities of the government?” Surjewala asked.

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